As the voting continues in our Sinfully Readers Choice Awards: Round One Nominations. We thought, this week, we would take this opportunity to share with you our favourites for 2015.
I’m kicking things off today, so read on for;
Monique’s Favourites of 2015
2015 has been a crazy year for me both at home and on the blog! Since the complete change over to Gay Romance at the beginning of the year, the response from our readers has been wonderful, phenomenal in fact, and we are both delighted, and especially encouraged with all the new readers, as well as the new authors who have now embraced this genre we are all so passionate about. So of course with all this moving along in leaps and bounds, and with me trying to catch up, it has meant my reading and reviewing has suffered in 2015… (No need to guess what my New Year’s resolution was.) But a true book addict will manage to get her fix, even on the go… Yes, I have been cramming audiobooks in for those times when I just can’t sit, relax and read. And this year with the increased popularity of audiobooks and the M/M genre in general, there have been some very tasty treats to keep me going. Fabulous authors and narrators, which is why we have included those two as new categories this year.
2015 has been a wonderful year for the community and Gay Romance and we have been blessed with some outstanding reads and amazing authors! So time to get cracking and share with you what has thrilled me this year in the M/M world.
Book of the Year
As always there have been a lot of books that have been fabulous for different reasons. So before I give you my winner this year I need a drum roll for a few of those that also deserve a mention, because it is so hard to choose!
Misfits by Garrett Leigh, Fallout by Lisa Henry & M. Caspian. All of the Demoted series of books by Alicia Cameron, Crossroads by Riley Hart, Knight of Ocean Avenue by Tara Lain, Learning from the Master by Lynn Kelling, Mocker of Ravens (Spectre 2, #1) by Jordan L. Hawk and Rattlesnake by Kim Fielding, I could go on and on and they all deserve to be winners! If I have to choose just one then I am going for…
Sutphin Boulevard by Santino Hassell
Because, well, Michael and Nunzio for starters, two imperfect characters that shine through the rawness and unapologetic realism of Santinio Hassell’s excellent writing. This was my outstanding book of the year, just brilliant!
Author of the Year
As readers we all have authors that are auto buys and again I have a few that I think deserve a mention for this year. Lynn Kelling, Santino Hassell, Lisa Henry, J.A. Rock, Heidi Cullinan, Bey Deckard, Devon McCormack, Garrett Leigh, Kim Fielding and Riley Hart. Without boring you with a never ending list, I’ll quit now and go straight to my Author of the Year.
It’s always very hard to choose just one author from the many we know and love, but for this year I have chosen Amy Lane with Immortal and Winter Ball just two of the great books released this year. As I mentioned earlier I have supplemented my reading fix with audiobooks and Amy Lane has had quite a few of her books released on audio this year with Beneath the Stain and Christmas Kitsch being two of my all-time favourite books, enhanced by their transition to audio and I just loved them. Amy Lane never fails to move me to tears and emotionally connect me to her characters. A wonderfully talented author, who for me, this year deserves my author of the year.
Debut Author of the Year
I love this category, because these authors are those that we will be devouring for years to come, those authors that get us excited with their first novel and go on to consistently produce great books! There have been quite a few worth mentioning this year. Megan Erickson, Karen Stivali, Avon Gale, Charlie Winters, Nealy Wagner and Roan Parish, to name but a few but my winner is:
I was so impressed with his debut novel Go Your Own Way, I am chomping at the bit for the next book in the series.
I do love my series and we cannot go into this category without mentioning Ty & Zane and the Cut & Run series. This year sadly saw the last book being published with Crash & Burn. Those boys will forever hold a place in my heart. Charlie Cochet’s boys Dex and Sloane were out in action again in the fourth book in the THIRDS series Rise & Fall, with Cael and Ash finally getting to tell their story in Against the Grain. All three books in the Demoted series featuring Cash and Sascha by Alicia Cameron were released in 2015. Oh… and I can’t not mention the well-endowed boys Treycore and Kinzer from Devon McCormacks Clipped Series, who were in fine form in Bound. We also saw two books released from the Five Boroughs series Sutphin Boulevard and Sunset Park by Santino Hassell. Mocker of Ravens (Spectre 2, #1) by Jordan L Hawk. Knights of Ocean Avenue and Knave of Broken Hearts from the Love in Laguna series by Tara Lain. Two books from the Strain series Juggernaut and Bane by Amelia C Gormley. I could quite happily choose all of these but I’m going to go with:
The Manse series by Lynn Kelling
Learning from the Master, released this year, is a classy BDSM novella, a powerful, yet subtle seduction, with erotic undertones that create an air of sexual tension that literally had me tingling all over! It is the prequel to Bound by Lies, published in 2013, which is one of my all time favourite books! Lynn is an author that excites me with her talent and thankfully we don’t need to wait long for the next book, Loving the Master, which is a read that has me salivating for its release on the 9th February.
Favourite Character Couple
This is another hard category to choose from, because as we read we slowly but surely fall for the men in the books we love, those that somehow manage to find a place in our hearts. And as avid readers, that list starts to grow. So I have chosen two characters on the criteria of how much they moved me emotionally, enough for those tears to start leaking, so I went for…
Jimmy and Shane from Rattlesnake by Kim Fielding.
Two imperfect men, who had resigned themselves to never finding love and had given up on hope. Kim Fielding did such a beautiful job in her characterisation of these two. It’s an uncomplicated love story, totally transparent and subtly weaved until your heart is full of love for Jimmy and Shane, who eventually find their love and hope in the tenderness and affection they thought lost to them.
Cover of the Year
I like book covers that speak to me, tell me a story, even before I glance at the blurb and thankfully the covers in the M/M genre seem to have vastley improved over the years, with some amazing cover artists sharing thier artistic talent with us. My Cover of the year fits my criteria perfectly.
The Luckiest by Mila Warren
Book Design: Lex Huffman
Cover Design: Buckeyegrrl Designs
Cover Illustration and art: C.B. Messer
This cover is beautifully illustrated and drew me in straght away, wanting to know all about those two men sitting chatting on the steps. It’s just gorgeous!
Here are just a few of the other covers that also caught my eye.
Favourite Read of 2015 NOT Published in 2015
Strangely, I seem to have read a lot of books this year not published in 2015. Just some of the highlights have been; all four books in the Southern series by Sara York, this was probably my biggest surprise of the year, I read book one and was compelled to complete the series. Caged and Sacrificed by Bey Deckard just blew me away as did the Spectre series by Jordan L Hawk which I devoured. Violence Begets by PT Denys was such a tragic and beautiful story that just broke my heart and Ethan who loved Carter by Ryan Loveless another book that had me in tears and lifted my spirits. But my choice in this category is…
Racing for the Sun by Amy Lane
When I read this book, from the very first page I just simply fell head over heels for Ace and Sonny, bought the audiobook and fell in love with them all over again, and again and again… with the excellent and moving narration by Nick J. Russo.
Favourite Audio Book Published in 2015
Before I move on in this category I want to mention that the handful of audiobooks following, are all outstanding and each, on their own merit deserve to be mentioned as winners in my eyes: The Tin Box by Kim Fielding, Christmas Kitsch by Amy Lane, Nowhere Ranch by Heidi Cullinan, Owning Corey by Maris Black, Saving Kane by Michelle M Rakes, The Last Thing He Needs by J.H. Knight, Blame it on the Mistletoe by Eli Easton and Beneath the Stain by Amy Lane. However if I have to choose just one, my choice for this year is…
Beyond Duty by SJD Peterson.
I fell in love with Mac and Gunny back in 2012 with the short Jo did for the M/M Romance Group’s “Love is Always Write” event. Then a full length novel was released in 2013 and I was smitten all over again. So when the audiobook came out this year it was downloaded to my iPhone and playing in a flash. Beyond Duty is my go to listen, it makes me happy and Mac and Gunny never fail to put that silly goofy smile on my face, move me to tears as I marvel at their enduring love and most of all friendship, despite the obstacles of being Marines when “Don’t ask don’t tell” was enforced. Of course this was all enhanced by the narration by Jonathon Young, who managed to capture the very vibrant personalities of both Gunny and Mac perfectly.
Favourite Audio Book Narrator of 2015
It’s funny when you start listening to audiobooks, you somehow form a bond and connection to the narrators and they themselves become such a huge part of the story and your enjoyment of it. I can honestly say I have actually mourned the loss of listening to their voices in my ears. So much so I then go and look up more books they have narrated just to be able to listen a little longer. The M/M narrators that have impressed me the most this year and I have gone on to stalk the rest of their collection are: J.F. Harding, Iggy Toma, Jonathan Young, Michael Stellman, Jason Frazier and K.C. Kelly. As a confirmed narrator groupie, I would totally just buy audio books because they are reading them and that includes my winner for Narrator of the Year for 2015…
Nick J. Russo
His outstanding narration for me this year being Beneath the Stain by Amy Lane and Christmas Kitsch by Amy Lane. He manages to characterise and interpret Amy’s writing to perfection.
Thanks for reading and allowing me to share my 2015 Favourites with you, I wish you all a very Happy New Year and thank you for your continued support of the blog and this wonderful genre.
Now it’s YOUR turn, if you haven’t already voted for you favourites of 2015, pop along to our Readers Choice Awards: Round One nominations to have YOUR voice heard.
Click on the picture below
Ah-ha… Christmas may be over but I have a little gift for one lucky reader, a Kindle eBook from your TBR list! All you need to do is answer my following question in the comments below:
In the true vein of ‘out with the old and in with the new’, what book or author are you most anticipating this year?
PLEASE LEAVE YOUR EMAIL ADDRESS IN YOUR COMMENT SO WE CAN CONTACT YOU IF YOU SHOULD BE A WINNER!
::: And the winner is…. Sheila ……. CONGRATULATIONS! :::